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Archives for November 2018

November 28, 2018 - No Comments!

Popular Video Game Used To Lure Child Victims

by Abigail Carcich

Fortnite, a wildly popular online video game about survival, was first released in early 2017 by Epic Games. Its second mode, Fortnite Battle Royale, released only a couple of months later, surged in popularity nearly overnight to over 10 million users. Currently, the free-to-play game has an estimated player base of over 100 million.

Players can play solo, or in a groups with friends. The game drops you into an environment where you and your team fight others (up to 100 people total) to be the last man standing, Hunger Games style.

Parents report enjoying the game for the camaraderie it gives them with their children. Kids report loving the game for the epic tales of adventure, survival, and demise.

However, predators are also using Fortnite to gain access to potential victims of sexual crimes. 

Many video games include a chat function, in which you can chat with other members of your team, or with other players in your same game. Some video games have built-in functions for live streaming of your game, allowing the general public to view your game on the internet as you play it, and comment or send you private messages.

Predators will chat with their potential victims, and look for vulnerable young people with whom to connect. After a series of messages, predators may request sexual/nude photographs, or send graphic images of their own. They also may request to meet their victims in person, with the intent of engaging in a sexual encounter.

Fortnite is one of the most popular online platforms currently, but it is by no means the only one that contains opportunities for predators. Recently, a sting operation in New Jersey resulted in the arrest of 24 men, all of whom used various online platforms to connect with their victims. These other platforms included chatting app Kik and social media apps Scout and Whisper.

Parents should be aware of which games and apps their children interact with, and should frequently discuss with their children the dangers of talking with strangers online. Good internet practices and rules should be established, such as do not share personal information with someone you meet online, never send personal images, and never agree to meet someone that you do not already know.

Parents should also familiarize themselves with the different apps and games that their children interact with, as well as their security settings, and should ask their children questions about their online or gaming friends, investigating any odd or secretive behavior.

Fortnite -- and video games in general -- is likely to continue being popular with young and old alike. Staying connected to your child and educating them is the best way to guard against online predators.

For more tips about internet safety, view ZOE's Parent Guide to Internet Safety http://gozoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-parent-guide-to-internet-safety.pdf).

November 27, 2018 - No Comments!

Teachers Who Inspire

by Andrea Cross

The teachers at ZOE are hard-working, kind, patient, dedicated, professionals that help to steer children’s lives in a positive direction.  These teachers help create an environment where students feel safe, are able to concentrate, and develop into independent learners.

Every teacher needs professional development—in the form of practical training—so that they can safely and confidently focus on teaching. And every student deserves the benefits of a safe and productive learning environment.  Just like the training required for any specialized profession, teachers must receive ongoing training.

Four of our ZOE teachers recently attended a professional development training where they learnt about several topics, one of them being, Emotional Regulation Strategies.

At the training, they had the opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with others which, they said, helped them to understand more about working with and accepting other people’s opinions as well as analyzing problems. They also said they got many new ideas from the lecturer that will be practical tools for both their work and personal lives.

I once read a quote that said, a mediocre teacher “tells”... a good teacher “explains”... a superior teacher “demonstrates” but a great teacher “inspires”.

What a privilege it is to have teachers that inspire, motivate and shape our students to want to be the best that they can be.

Most of us would be able to testify to the fact that we have reached many of our life’s achievements because of the joint effort of many encouraging teachers along the way that helped to shape and direct us. We are so thankful for the ZOE teachers who continue to improve at their profession by striving to do their best, participating in ongoing professional development and inspiring their students!

November 26, 2018 - No Comments!

So, Come

by Andrea Cross

After a hard day at school or work, the location where we are free to be ourselves: to laugh, to cry, to reflect, to process and acknowledge our emotions and thoughts, is our home.

Usually we can try to ‘hold it together’ when people are relying on us, when we need to get our job done, finish a test, complete an assignment or manage our everyday tasks.  But for most of us, ‘home’, is a place of safe refuge, unconditional love and limitless acceptance – well it should be, right?

I was reminded recently about the children who ZOE has helped to rescue. When they arrive, they’ve generally had little-to-no control over their environment and circumstances so, understandably, they experience varying emotions from distrust, fear, shame and grief. They may also have injuries, be unwell or arrive addicted to substances.  

For them to understand that they have reached a place where they are free to be who they were created to be, where they are loved and accepted for who they are, where wounds can heal and joy be restored…it’s an overwhelming experience and one that is often hard to believe.

As I stood in the Child Rescue Center recently, a place where the journey begins, I felt so tremendously grateful – not just for the beautiful buildings, gardens and facilities but for the amazing people who stand ready to embrace these precious children.

This poem is about them.

SO, COME

Come with your tear streaked eyes,
Come with your loneliness,
Come with your abandonment,
Bring it.
You are no longer alone.

Come with your hidden pain,
Come with your rejection,
Come with your silent anger,
Bring it.
You are no longer invisible.

Come with your shattered trust,
Come with your fears,
Come with your broken dreams,
Bring them.
You are no longer unheard.

Come with your scars,
Come with your shame,
Come with your unworthiness,
Bring them.
You will no longer be blamed.

Come with your silenced voice,
Come with your wounded heart,
Come with your numbing pain,
Bring them.
You are no longer imprisoned.

Come with your chaos,
Come with your loss,
Come with your rejection,
Bring them.
You are welcome here.

And the longer you stay,
The more you’ll begin to understand,
You are brave.
You are worthy.
You are incredible.
You are truly one of kind.
So, come.

By Andrea Cross

*This poem speaks of the love and kindness that the ZOE staff display day-in and day-out to the ones who have never known and experienced ‘home’ before and the beautiful freedom that comes from being accepted and embraced ‘just as they are’.

November 20, 2018 - No Comments!

Thankfulness is ZOE Culture

This time of year we are reminded to ponder the things we are thankful for.  God has called us to be continually thankful which is something we should all strive to do.  Although Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, the act of ‘thanksgiving’ is very much Kingdom culture and also ZOE culture.  

Our hearts overflow with joy and thanksgiving at ZOE when we see that God is transforming our children’s hearts.  Recently, one of our children came excitedly up to her mom with an idea. Apparently it had become very obvious to her the amount of money it cost to care for her and the rest of the ZOE children.  She was so moved by this that she wanted to help raise money to contribute. She was thankful and out of her thankfulness she was moved to action.

We feel a personal responsibility to continually be thanking God for you, our spiritual family, every time we pray. And we have every reason to do so because your faith is growing marvelously beyond measure. The unselfish love each of you share for one another is increasing and overflowing! - 2 Thessalonians 1:3, TPT

This verse is a prayer not only for the children in our care but for all of you who partner with us to see every person REACHED and every child RESCUED.  

We are continually thanking God for you!

November 15, 2018 - No Comments!

Internships Off Campus

by Lori-Ann Tsang

We firmly believe that God “knows the plans He has for our children… plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them hope and a future.”  We not only believe this for each of the children in our care; we believe this for every child - even those who have not yet been rescued.

Practically this belief is realized in everyday pouring into their lives.  Teaching them, loving them and in giving them opportunities to expand their learning and broaden their horizons. 

During a recent school break, our staff and teachers arranged for our 9th graders to do a week of internship with some local businesses. They were able to intern at a motorcycle service shop, a village restaurant or a shop at the local hot springs.  The shop owners were very impressed with our youth as they acted in a responsible, enthusiastic and hard-working manner. The skills learned, and time spent doing these internships, sowed important values and skills into our children’s lives.

Did you know that the majority of working class Thai nationals, ride motorcycles?  Cars are very much a luxury. Therefore learning how to service and repair a motorcycle will serve them well as future working class community members.  The time working alongside local business people gave them a real glimpse of what “adult” life will look like. The 9th graders came away understanding more about themselves, what is required and expected in a typical working environment and whether they would continue to pursue work in these areas or not.

Just the other week, a few of us visited the local hot springs to grab a meal together. At the end of the meal, after realizing we were from ZOE, the owner again spoke of how wonderful the students who interned with her had been.  What a privilege to be a part of God’s plans for our children’s hope and future!

November 8, 2018 - No Comments!

Recently Rescued Youth

by Lori-Ann Tsang

ZOE fights for the rights of children who have no one else to fight for them. The children that we rescue come from a range of backgrounds, including being orphaned; on the market to be sold; directly rescued from being labor slaves, begging slaves, and sex slaves or having been subjected to heinous crimes and abuse.  

ZOE will always act in the best interest of each child. Once a child comes into the safety of our care, they are instantly welcomed in and treated like family. Many children only need to stay at ZOE for a short time while evidence is collected, court cases are heard and their situation is assessed. The children and youth who arrive for emergency care and protection at our Child Rescue Center experience love, support, counseling and healing.  God is beginning His restoration process.

  •      For children who are trafficked internationally, ZOE will help repatriate them with their family, sending a team across country borders, to help a child settle back home. ZOE will remain connected with these children and their families to be confident that they are continuing to be cared for.
  •      For children who are trafficked domestically, ZOE will help reunite and reintegrate them with their family.  With support, including trafficking awareness education, as a priority, these families are given the best chance to provide long-term safety for their children in future.
  •      If there is no suitable carer, or biological relative who can look after a child, they will continue to live and be cared for within a small family group at ZOE. Even after children reach 18 years of age, they will be taken care of whilst working towards transitioning to semi-independent, and then fully independent living, as they feel ready.

Upon waiting to be reunited with family, one youth recently shared about the change in their attitude that has happened since staying at our ZOE Thailand campus. Prior to being rescued, they shared about wandering away from their family and not really caring about anyone or anything.  Since being with us, there is a desire to return to family and be a part of helping at home, whether it be to cook or do other chores.

“I want to go back to school,” they said. Previously they had no desire to study.  A new sense of responsibility and hope for the future is made possible because of God’s work in this youth’s life and the wonderful counselors and staff that walk along our children.